The Chair of the Church Urban Fund, Canon Paul Hackwood, writes:
There are over 8 million people in the UK who are struggling with debt. Without access to other finance options, many resort to high cost loans to cover basic necessities such as food and fuel. This is having a devastating effect on physical and mental health, families and entire communities.
I’ve seen what this can mean for a community and for a parish but I also know that work has started to stop this cycle.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has planted a seed. He’s done it courageously and he’s done it with a lot of personal commitment. Pilot work under the Church Credit Champions Network across two regions has formed the beginnings of a ‘Just Finance Network’ to develop community finance and money advice services, and give people the skills they need to make sound financial decisions.
This pilot has mobilised nearly 200 churches so far. This has meant there are now over 250 trained volunteers providing budget and debt advice. This pilot is expected to generate £2.2 million in social value. Imagine the impact this would have if it was national.
The Archbishop has asked Church Urban Fund to deliver a national roll out of the Just Finance Network and so to do this we are running the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Mustard Seed Appeal.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32)
We are calling on churches across the country to raise funds with us to transform the lives of those struggling with financial distress.
You can make a difference by encouraging congregations to take part in the Mustard Seed Appeal by hosting fundraising events.
You can also hold collections to support the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Mustard Seed Appeal and donate the money raised.
I’m confident that through this important work we can see a changed financial system; one that provides justice for all.